Al-Assad dismisses reports that Iranian forces had been helping the army. AP photo
There is a gulf between Ankara’s policies on Syria and the Turkish people’s view of the Arab republic, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said in rare interview that harshly criticized Turkey for its role in the rising violence in the neighboring country.
Referring to strained relations with Turkey following Syria’s shooting down of one of its jets, al-Assad said June 28 that there was a difference between the stance of Turkish officials and the positive view of the Turkish people toward Syria.
“What we see now shows the stance of some Turkish officials, but not all,” al-Assad told Iranian state television. “The policies of the Turkish officials have led to the killing and bloodshed of the Syrian people.”
Al-Assad also accused Syria’s foes of trying to interfere in his country’s internal affairs with U.N. resolutions and by engineering the failure of Kofi Annan’s peace plan. But he said he did not believe the crisis would result in military action in Syria.
What happened in Libya was “not a solution to be copied because it took Libya from one situation into a much worse one. We all now see how the Libyan people are paying the price,” he said. Al-Assad dismissed reports that Iranian forces and fighters from Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah resistance movement had been helping direct Syrian army operations.
He also firmly rejected any solution imposed from outside the country, emphasizing his own commitment to reform instead. “We will not accept any non-Syrian, non-national model, whether it comes from big countries or friendly countries. No one knows how to solve Syria’s problems as well as we do,” he said.